What Your Dog Wants You to Know

If only you’d listen

Have you ever wondered whether your dog has issues with you and yearns to notify you about them? If only he could talk and you tuned in, perhaps the conversation would go like this.

You’re my world. I love you unconditionally. Still, here are a few things I wish you knew.

You become annoyed with me when I act in ways you consider foolish or unacceptable. My behaviors make excellent sense to me though. I invariably have solid reasons to support my conduct.

Like when I bark because someone’s at the door. I’m not acting up. I think my job involves greeting visitors. Or I’m defending you and our domain.

I assume you need looking after. I’d rather it was the other way around. It’s an enormous responsibility keeping my eye on your welfare and safeguarding our territory.

Some people claim I display top dog tendencies (meaning I imagine I’m better than you and you must cater to my inclinations). But they are mistaken.

In the wild, wolves, my forefathers, who served the pack defended their clan until their dying day. They didn’t constantly get the best of everything. Only what they needed to stay strong enough to handle their position.

Often, the most defenseless members of the pack received food before the principal dog. They were weak and required extra nourishment and concern.

So, when I guard our home, I’m fulfilling my supervisory role.

Other behaviors you deplore, like me hopping on the furniture when you claim I mustn’t, aren’t about me teaching you who’s boss either.

Somewhere along our journey together, our wires crossed and your wishes were mis-communicated. You, or someone else, let me do those things you now scorn and I can’t figure out what changed.

I think “this time, things could be different and you might oblige.”

Occasionally, my dream comes true, and you let me behave in ways you informed me wasn’t authorized. Then you, or another family member modifies the rules.

I might as well keep pressing my luck in case you give way.

Oh, and you hate it when I panic at home alone. Again, people may give you an erroneous idea about my struggle, saying I am terrified by myself. They are wrong. I’m not fretting about me, I’m worried about you.

I don’t know where you are when you go out. Questions race through my brain like “are you safe? Do you need me?” “Shouldn’t I be with you in case you’re hunting and need protection?”

I’m a pack animal and you and other household members are my pack. We are meant to stay together.

Dogs who don’t get distressed without their people are only okay because they are confident their human children (that’s how we see you) can take care of themselves.

I’m sure my presence with you is essential and l will do anything — scratch the walls or eat the carpet — to ease my fears about what might happen to you when you’re out.

Sometimes I guard food. Now, not all dogs do the same. Those who don’t, you guessed it, don’t expect to be in charge of food.

In the wild, if another pack member snuck up and seized the packs food, oh boy, there would be trouble. The leader had to make sure everybody recognized it wasn’t a free-for-all.

If only you had taught me it was okay for you to handle my food when I was a pup, and showed me you were granted privileges I wasn’t, I’d have confidence in you to take care of yourself and the rest of the pack. I’d sigh with relief now, since I’d have more free time and less anxiety than I do as your manager.

Another thing, I repeatedly hear you suggest I have a remorseful expression after I do something you condemn. I don’t feel guilty, Guilt’s a human mis-aligned emotion us dogs don’t entertain.

If I look sorry, I’m upset (and maybe afraid) because I know I’ve disappointed you. I prefer you to be content, and I don’t want to be disciplined. You laugh about my imaginary guilty expression. It’s okay, but I don’t think the way you do.

Life’s black and white for me. You’re complicated and fickle and often imagine I experience events the same way as you.

Unlike you, I live for the moment. I seize the day and welcome joy everywhere I go. Little things bring me satisfaction, and I’m happiest when you’re happy.

I don’t care for diamond-studded collars, or whatever you think makes me look cute or fulfills your image of me. I wag my tail and perform for you because, as I remarked, you are my world and I love you unconditionally.

Copyright © 2018 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved

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Nature Lover, Former Mental Health Professional, Writer https://tinyurl.com/y2cgqhgv

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